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Chapter 3 Section I: Fee charge arrangements in psychiatric hospitals

People cared for in a psychiatric ward of a public mental health facility/hospital are charged daily fees. These fees are all inclusive, and hospitals cannot raise charges for any specific service provided e.g. Radiology, Pathology, Theatre, etc. The rates applied are in line with rates on the same basis as other patients admitted to any recognised public hospital subject to free treatment during the first sixty (60) days of admission and after 60 days certification of need of acute care by the Medical Superintendent.

Pensioners who receive any type of Social Security Benefit (e.g. Invalid Pension, Old Age Pension, Sickness Benefits, Unemployment Benefits) will be presented with an account for the maintenance fee, since the Department of Social Services will not directly pay this charge.

Patients who are under sixteen years of age should not be charged.

To read about fee procedures in public hospitals in detail, follow this link.

3.I.2: Admission and Assessment of Fees

The Department of Social Services will not pay benefits directly to the hospital. The collection of maintenance charges will be charged directly to you by providing an account.

On and from the sixty-first day, you will be charged rates as specified in Information Bulletins issued by the Department of Health annually and that apply to patients of public psychiatric hospitals, unless you are classified by the Medical Superintendent as still being in need of acute care, in which case you should continue to receive free care and treatment.

If any two periods of hospitalisation are separated by less than seven days, the periods are to be combined in calculating the sixty days. (It is therefore possible to receive free treatment for several periods of up to sixty days each in any one year, provided that each period is separated by at least seven days from the previous period of hospitalisation. No extension of the free period is allowed for any leave taken during the first sixty (60) days of treatment. Time spent in admission wards before transfer to other wards is to be counted when calculating the sixty days.
All fees payable are raised and collected by individual hospitals.

If a person is ineligible to receive the full standard rate pension and/or rent assistance on the grounds of additional income or a rent test, then the person is charged as if he/she is receiving the maximum rate of standard pension with full rent assistance.

If however the person is ruled ineligible to receive the standard rate of pension on the grounds that he/she is a married person and the admission is not indefinite or permanent then charges are to be raised at the rate for a person receiving the married rate of pension. However, an amount of up to the maximum rate of rent assistance charged may be reduced in case of married pensioner patients if the hospital considers that financial hardship is being caused to the pensioner partner remaining at home.

Married Pensioners receiving part pension only are to be charged the married rate as gazetted.

If you are granted leave for periods more than four continuous calendar days, you should not be charged during the period of leave, but the charge should start again from the date of return, provided you have been entitled to free treatment for sixty (60) days. Fees will be charged for periods of leave of four continuous calendar days or less.

3.I.3: Reduction of waiver of charges

Chief Executives or a delegate of the Local Health District have the authority to reduce, waive or postpone charges in cases of hardship to the dependent family of the patient, or to the patient.

3.I.4: Overseas and Interstate visitors

Overseas and interstate visitors will be charged the ineligible rate from date of admission.

For more details about what ineligible means in terms of your country of origin or visitors status in Australia, fees charged, eligibility for free treatment and means testing, please follow this link.

Updated October 29, 2019